This Serene Beach In Oahu Is A Picture-Perfect Spot Surrounded By Fun Attractions

Hawaiian beaches are idyllic. Gorgeous sandy shores with clear blue water, mountains in the background, palm trees swaying in the breeze ... it's really hard to beat. The one drawback is that so many people know about the stunning beauty of this island state that beaches can often get crowded, which is especially true during peak tourist seasons. 

However, the hidden gems in Hawaiian only locals know typically offer more peace and quiet than popular places if you know where to look. For instance, there is one spot on the windward side of the island of Oaho largely frequented by locals: Kaaawa Beach Park. If a serene beach with fewer tourists is what you're looking for, Kaaawa Beach Park (Kaaawa means "yellow wrasse fish") is just about perfect. There are also a ton of nearby activities, such as touring through some of the spots where they filmed "Jurassic Park." Here's what you need to know about Kaaawa Beach Park and what you can do in the surrounding area. 

Ocean activities at Kaaawa Beach Park

Even though the beach is named after a fish, it's he'e, or octopus, that you'll likely see locals fishing for on this 2,000-foot stretch of golden sand. The beach sits off a main road, Kamehameha Parkway, and is about a 45-minute drive from Honolulu International Airport. One of a few stunning beach parks on Oahu, Kaaawa Beach has been a shooting location for the series "Lost" and the most recent version of "Hawaii Five-O." There is street parking and a small, free parking lot that fills up fast on weekends. Kaaawa Beach is on Oahu's northeast or windward shore, so if you want to see a gorgeous sunrise, this is your spot. 

The beach park has bathrooms, picnicking areas with grills, a playground, and outdoor showers so you don't leave all sandy. This is a great spot to try stand-up paddleboarding, which is a wonderful exercise, kayaking, and with a shallow reef offshore, snorkeling. You may see manta rays, sea turtles, coral gardens, dolphins, and, of course, octopus. However, there can sometimes be strong currents, so keep this in mind before you swim or snorkel. Leashed dogs are welcome here, but again, keep the current in mind before you go for a dip with them. 

Things to do around Kaaawa Beach Park

If you're visiting Kaaawa Beach Park, you're not that far from Turtle Bay Resort, up Kamehameha Parkway about 17.5 miles. You'll recognize it from "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," which was filmed here. The resort features acclaimed restaurants, including the upscale Alaia that serves dishes such as furikake-crusted ahi, miso-yaki salmon, and ali'i mushroom tagliatelle, or you can grab drinks and bar food at their Sunset outdoor spot. Turtle Bay also has its own beach and family-friendly activities like horseback and pony riding, night snorkeling, and more. 

Sitting on a beautiful beach is a delight, but it can get hot. The remedy for that is, of course, shaved ice. Kaaawa Beach Park is a short, four-minute walk from Great Cold Coconuts and Shaved Ice. You'll also be a quick four-minute drive from Kualoa Ranch, which offers all sorts of tours, including their Hollywood Movie Sites Tour, taking you to scene locations from films like "Jurassic Park," "50 First Dates," and "Jumanji." The ranch also offers zip-lining tours, a jungle expedition, and e-bike tours.